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Tue, 21 Jan 2020 19:42 GMT

Travel Bloggers Say ‘Come to Egypt’ as Tourism Development Accelerates

Media & Culture

Lamis ElSharqawy

Sun, 06 Oct 2019 21:21 GMT

When talking about ancient monuments and tourist attractions, Egypt is often cited as one of the top-rated places to visit worldwide, based on the recommendations of global tour operators.

One in three attractions in Upper Egypt’s city of Luxor alone is a world heritage site and there are many other tourist destinations scattered throughout the country. There needs to be a more effective strategy to attract more visitors and increase revenues from tourism, which is a leading source of income for Egypt’s economy.

In celebration of World Tourism Day last week, Egypt invited global travel bloggers to evaluate their experience as they visited tourist destinations for one week.

Seventeen bloggers and influencers were invited from specifically from Canada, Sweden, and Italy. The event was part of an initiative to diversify promotion platforms and modernise marketing techniques to promote Egyptian tourist destinations.

This updating is one of the main objectives of the structural Egypt -Tourism Reform Programme (E-TRP) in order to provide a contemporary and atypical image of the country and to change its traditional promotion strategies.

Federica Xotti, Milan-based travel blogger

“Travelling to Egypt is an experience that travellers should do at least once in a lifetime. I’ve already been to Egypt ten times. Egypt is one of the richest countries in the world, full of cultural, historical and natural beauty. Every time I visit Egypt, I discover something new, this time I visited New Alamein city,” Federica Xotti, Milan-based travel blogger said.

Other travel bloggers attending were Oliver Vegas from Barcelona, Ebba Zingmark from Berlin, and Emmett Sparling from Vancouver.

Tourism Minister Dr Rania Al-Mashat highlighted the importance of different promotion approaches to tourist hotspots through non-traditional content provided by foreign bloggers. She said Egypt needed to move away from dependence on the official line.

In a related context, the World Economic Forum (WEF) announced that Egypt has jumped five places in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI), released in September, and is now ranked 65th. The WEF report confirmed that Egypt has made a breakthrough in tourism promotion and marketing strategy to hold 65th position after being 60th.

Alessandro Marras, Italian travel blogger 

“It was a pleasure to visit Egypt again. The country makes me feel at home. I have been there nine times already. I have seen many attractions. On my last tour there, I visited Cairo and Alexandria. Every time I see the pyramids; I feel great emotion. I can’t wait to see the skyscrapers of New Alamein next year,” Alessandro Marras, Italian travel blogger said.

‘People to People’, a film that showcases Egyptian tourist attractions, made in collaboration with Beautiful Destinations, won the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) prize for the best promotional film in the Middle East, as announced in the General Assembly of the WTO, held in St. Petersburg in early September.

Beautiful Destinations is a promotions company followed by a large audience on social media platforms Instagram, Facebook, and Weibo. According to a Forbes study, more than 40% of tourists around the world are under the age of 33 and they make decisions on travel destinations based on Instagram searches.

The Ministry of Tourism has announced promotional plans with CNN media company, Ctrip Chinese travel agency and Expedia Travel.

Oliver Vegas, a Barcelona-based travel photographer

Oliver Vegas, a Barcelona-based travel photographer, who visited Egypt in September and took extensive photographs of Luxor, a city rich in monuments, said: “Whenever you visit Egypt, you always discover a new place.

“I’ve been there twice. The weather is great, and the temples are awesome. One of my favourite places is the Red Sea and the pyramids,” he said.

The Secretary-General of the WTO Zurab Pololikashvili praised the new hotel rating system which will make the tourism sector in Egypt more competitive. "The new system will help push forward economic development in the country and create more jobs," he said.

The political unrest in 2011 raised fears of the possibility that Egypt would lose its leading position as a tourist destination after its high-performance levels in 2010. In an interview with Bloomberg’s during the recent United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Minister Al-Mashat said that the numbers of tourists were currently nearly those of the peak year, 2010 and that Egypt’s tourism grew by 30% in 2018 which was “very close to the peak (figures).”

The tourism sector revenues represented 15% of GDP and provided 9.6 million jobs by the end of 2018 representing 9.5% of the total number of jobs in Egypt, according to WTO data.

Bloom Consulting, a partner of the WEF, declared that Egypt had got the highest score rating of AAA in promoting the country’s brand and its tourist destinations. National Geographic ranked Dahab, a popular diving destination, as first of the best beaches list in the Middle East while Hurghada is among the top 25 tourist destinations in the world, according to TripAdvisor.

American Time magazine has picked the Red Sea Mountain Trail as one of the world's greatest places for tourists in 2019. "Plunging gorges and craggy mountain-sides are all that separate mainland Egypt's first long-distance hiking trail from the beach resorts in the nearby vacation town of Hurghada," wrote Joseph Hincks, the Time magazine correspondent in the Middle East.

Egypt’s travel tourism revenues increased by 28.3% year-on-year, recording $12.57 billion in fiscal year 2018/2019, compared to $9.80 billion, according to data released by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) on Tuesday October 1st.

Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel firm, collapsed last week, sparking a major source of stress in the tourist sector, as it was the main company used by the British to travel to Egypt.

Al Mashat and the head of the Egyptian Tour Guides Syndicate have both said that British tourists do not represent the highest numbers of visitors to Egypt, but the Germans do. “The highest number of tourists to Egypt are Germans, followed by Chinese and Japanese,” Hassan Nahla told the Egyptian News Website Al Bawabah News.

Al Mashat said that those developing a future strategy for tourism in Egypt “had invested time in the past few years to diversify the markets where tourists come.” She said that Europe is the main market for Egyptian tourism (55%), topped by Germany.

The Egyptian tourism sector has struggled since the 2011 political upheavals, but it has begun to recover recently after a comprehensive economic reform programme was launched by the government which included floating the Egyptian currency.

Middle East Africa